"After the Moore Tornado: 4 Technology Lessons"

My piece for Qualcomm Spark is now up.  Written before Friday's tornadoes, I talk about where we go from here with tornado warnings.


  1. I'll pass it along to my team. Thanks for writing it.

  2. What is your opinion on ICF construction and tornado safety?

  3. Speaking of construction and technology seems everyone as of late in the media is talking about Joplin, Missouri's new "tornado proof" hospital being built. Here is one of the latest videos I ran across from the Weather Channel. I guess it is possible to build a structure now days to withstand a tornado, even the glass.

  4. @Dr. I don't have an opinion on that as I am not a structural engineer. Sorry.

    @Todd: Yes, it is possible to make it tornado resistant although not completely tornado proof.

  5. Great article.

    One issue I have with OKC metro's warning policy is they sound the sirens for all metro areas if any part of the city is within a tornado warning polygon.

    We heard sirens all night in far north OKC (178th/May..we are talking like 20 miles north of the threat).

    My fear is that one day a south metro tornado will be warned, and then a few minutes later a new north metro tornado will pop up. The people will assume that the sires are just recycling the warnings from the south metro tornado. Too many sirens in my humble opinion.

  6. @David: A version of your fear materialized in Joplin in May, 2011. It is described in my book, "When the Sirens Were Silent."

  7. Yes I finished your book last week which got me thinking about this during the Friday weather. Really interesting read! I'm working on "Warnings" this week. :-)

    Unfortunately I can't think of a good solution. OKC is broken into 8 wards that change every year based on census data. I'm assuming the tornado sirens can't be updated every year to adapt to the updated GIS data.

    (Keep in mind I'm just an amateur storm spotter) One idea I had is to develop software that links the GIS coordinates from the metro wards with the tornado sirens positioned in those areas.

    So when a tornado polygon is drawn over a specific area on the map, the software would figure out which OKC metro wards are impacted and activate those sirens.

    Someone would still pull the switch on the sirens, but the software would help decide which sirens in the metro sound.

    Easier said than done I'm sure. And probably expensive! But that is the fun at being an armchair critic. :-)


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